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New leak says the Pixel 5 won’t be Google’s first 5G phone

Published Jan 27th, 2020 9:10PM EST
Pixel 5 Release Date
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

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Google is widely expected to launch two smartphone lines this year: the affordable Pixel 4a at I/O 2020, and the Pixel 5 that should see the light of day in October. Both, however, will appear in leaks much earlier than that, considering what happened to their predecessors — and we already have plenty of exciting Pixel 4a leaks for you. The latest report seems to confirm a previous leak that said the Pixel 5 won’t be Google’s first 5G phone.

Soon after unveiling the Pixel 4 series last fall, Google addressed the lack of 5G connectivity and said that the time was simply not right for a 5G Pixel 4. The stance isn’t surprising, considering that Apple has been using the same approach for previous wireless standards. Apple is expected to add 5G support to all its 2020 iPhone 12 models, and Google will probably do the same with the Pixel 5.

Until that happens, Google might launch the rarest of all 5G phones: An affordable one. A report a few weeks ago said that Google’s Pixel 4a prototypes include versions built on Qualcomm’s new budget 5G platform, the Snapdragon 765. Three codenames were discovered at the time, and they were tied to the Pixel 4a series.

What’s interesting is that xda-developers, which first found mentions of Sunfish, Redfin, and Bramble, is back with a report that says the same three codenames are included in the latest version of Google’s Camera app. A teardown of the Google Camera 7.3.017 APK that should soon reach Pixel phones reveals that all three codenames are now included in the app. They’re also associated with a “pixel_20_mid_range” string that seems to suggest it is indeed connected to the upcoming Pixel 4a.

According to the new findings, Sunfish and Bramble are the most likely codenames for the Pixel 4a and Pixel 4a XL, respectively. Redfin, meanwhile, appears to be a development board. If all of this information is accurate, the Pixel 4a might be a 4G-only device, while the Pixel 4a XL would support 5G.

The Pixel 5 phones, meanwhile, are expected to rock the same Snapdragon 865 chips that will power some of the 5G flagships that are about to launch, including the Galaxy S20, S20+, and S20 Ultra. However, the Pixel 5 series isn’t expected to launch until October.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.